A commenter once wrote that we should avoid hubris (excessive pride or self-confidence) at all cost.
It appears that Panthers edge rusher Haason Reddick must not have received the memo. Reddick thunderously proclaimed after Sunday’s 19-14 victory over the New York Jets that “today, we put the league on notice,’’ referring to Carolina’s defense.
Reddick and his defensive teammates sacked Jets quarterback Zach Wilson six times, although the Jets offensive line can hardly be considered great by any stretch. Still, it was a promising performance from a young and growing defense. Reddick tallied 1.5 sacks in the game.
“We have some great guys up front,’’ Reddick said. “Guys that are real dogs and can get after it. That’s what we put out there today. That’s what we put on film. We did what we said we were able to do when we talk to ourselves and how we wanted to go out there and establish who we are. We took care of that today.’’
Haason Reddick and Brian Burns causing a whole lot of problems today. Reddick with the forced fumble here. pic.twitter.com/NYASVmEsEN— Edgar Salmingo, Jr. ✌️ (@PanthersAnalyst) September 12, 2021
#Panthers starting DL front 7 grades vs. the Jets according to @PFF.— Dean Jones (@DeanJones_) September 13, 2021
- Brian Burns - 67.9
- Derrick Brown - 76.4
- DaQuan Jones - 72.8
- Morgan Fox - 68.4
- Haason Reddick - 66.3
- Jermaine Carter - 67.6
- Shaq Thompson - 75.7
As ESPN noted, a fast start in the sack department isn’t sufficient to guarantee necessary success. The 1998 and 2018 Panthers opened with six sacks in Week 1 and finished 4-12 and 7-9, respectively.
Still, “it’s obvious they are driven by being overlooked,” wrote ESPN.
ESPN projected Brian Burns to rank 16th in sacks with 7.4, a year after he led Carolina with nine. Reddick, who had 12.5 sacks for Arizona last season, was projected 35th with 6.3 sacks.
“We talked about it,’’ Reddick said. “We won’t let it go unnoticed.’’
Over the offseason, the Panthers made an effort to improve the pass rush, adding Reddick, tackle DaQuan Jones, 2020 first-round pick Derrick Brown, defensive end Morgan Fox and linebacker Frankie Luvu.
Burns said the sack total on Sunday could have been even more. “We left some sacks out there, honestly. We could easily have had nine if we had finished,” he said.
Carolina now looks toward a much better opponent in the New Orleans Saints, with a better offensive line. That group features left tackle Terron Armstead, right tackle Ryan Ramczyk and guard Andrus Peat.
Reddick seems to be okay with that.
“When I first signed here and I saw who was on the roster ... I already knew we could be special,’’ he told ESPN. “I already knew that we had some dogs. ... Then on game day, delivering ... Everything looks like it’s going to be good.
“As long as we keep getting better, it will be a beautiful thing.’’